Human Resources

C-suite career advice: Dave Wright, SolidFire

We ask industry leading C-suite professionals for their expert career advice...

Dave Wright

  Company: SolidFire

  Job Title: CEO

  Location: Boulder, Colorado


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?

Don’t do anything halfway. Whether it is a new job, a new venture, or simply a new project, you have to understand what success is and commit yourself fully to it.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?

People outside your business are always ready to offer advice on what to do in a given situation. While they may have more experience than you, they never have the context that you do. Taking their advice without understanding why is almost always a mistake. You usually know the answer before you ask the question; you just need to admit it to yourself.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?

The tech industry is very broad, so make sure you find an area of technology that really holds your interest, and just as importantly, find a position at a leading company in that area. Even if it means taking a smaller role or less compensation, you will learn 10X as much working for a leader and innovator than you will a follower or has-been.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?

You have to go above and beyond every day. The typical promotion path just takes too long and tends to plateau around middle management for average performers. The only way to make it to the top is to be exceptional, and to do so because you love what you do, not because you want a specific job or title. Those things will follow.

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?

I regularly get asked how to be a successful founder & entrepreneur. My best advice is always to spend some time as a team member with one or more early stage startups before going out to do it yourself. By seeing the process of building a company first-hand, you will have significantly more confidence when you go out on your own. And confidence is one of the most critical factors in a startup whether raising funding, hiring early employees, or winning your first customers.


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